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Commencement of Part 6 (building and subdivision certification provisions) postponed until 1 September 2019

Building regulation and certification provisions in the updated Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), together with the Building Professionals Act 2005 (Building Professionals Act) and the Home Building Act 1989, play a key role in underpinning the design, construction and safety of buildings in NSW.

 

In 2015, the Independent Review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (known as the 'Lambert Review') identified areas for improvement in the current building regulation and certification system. While many of the improvements relate to the certifier accreditation legislation, some related to the planning system.

 

The updated EP&A Act addresses issues identified by the Lambert Review by providing a clearer, more logical structure to building regulation and certification.

 

The key provisions relating to building regulation and certification will be contained in one part of the updated Act (Part 6). This includes a clear requirement set out in the Act to deal with the consistency between construction certificates and development consents, rather than being addressed in the regulation as was previously the case.

 

As this is a significant reform program, the changes are being rolled out in stages. Most of the updated EP&A Act commenced on 1 March 2018, including Division 6.7 (Building information certificates). The remaining Part 6 (building and subdivision certification) provisions were scheduled to commence on 1 September 2018.

 

The commencement of the remaining Part 6 provisions has been postponed until 1 September 2019, which will allow time for the sector to adjust to the numerous and significant regulatory changes that have been progressing around fire safety and the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018. It will also allow more time for stakeholder consultation on the operation of Part 6 and for the Department to work with practitioners and other industry stakeholders to educate and prepare them for changes before they come into effect.

 

When they commence in 2019, the new Part 6 (building and subdivision) provisions will:

  • remove interim occupation certificates. Note, this will not affect the ability to have staged occupation of buildings
  • create a new certificate for subdivision works, separating subdivision from construction works
  • provide powers for principal certifiers to issue directions to quickly act on non-compliant aspects of a development.

 

The outcomes of the stakeholder consultation will inform amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 required to operationalise these provisions. This consultation will ensure the processes developed in the regulation will be effective and practical.

 

Also, the Department will develop an education program to prepare practitioners for the new operational requirements ahead of their implementation in 2019.

 

Overall, the changes will promote an effective building regulation, certification and maintenance system by:

  • streamlining the complex building provisions into a single part of the Act, which will enhance usability and reduce red tape
  • introducing measures to ensure construction is consistent with the approved plans, protecting the integrity of the planning system and raising the level of community confidence
  • requiring a Building Manual (in 2020) to be prepared for specified buildings, so that important information about a building is more easily available.

 

Transitional arrangements

Until the new building and certification provisions take effect, it's business as usual. The current building provisions that were in force prior to 1 March 2018 continue to apply. The only division not deferred is Division 6.7 (Building information certificates). This division applies as of 1 March 2018 and repeals the old building certificate provisions.

 

For details on transitional arrangements between the previous and updated EP&A Act, please see the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Savings, Transitional and Other Provisions) Regulation 2017.

 

The deferred provisions include the former section 81A(2)–(6), section 86 and Part 4A of the EP&A Act, and the regulations made under Part 4A.

 

The former section 121ZP of the EP&A Act has been continued through clause 41 of Schedule 5 of the EP&A Act. This allows councils to continue to issue certificates as to whether there are outstanding orders or notices for a site.

 

Find out more

For more information about these changes, please email the Department at legislativeupdates@planning.nsw.gov.au.

 

To read more about the changes to the Act see Part 7 - Infrastructure contributions.

 

Page last updated: 13/06/2019